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Netherlands: it has proposed that any soft drug containing more than 15% of THC be treated on par with hard drugs like cocaine or heroin.
A recent commission instituted by the Dutch Government has found that the cannabis being sold in the country contains almost 18% of tetrahydro-cannabinol (THC), the main active chemical in marijuana. It has proposed that any soft drug containing more than 15% of THC be treated on par with hard drugs like cocaine or heroin.

Netherlands has always been known for its soft drug policies. The Dutch believe that it is almost impossible to ban the use of drugs altogether. So it has allowed coffee shops to sell small amounts of soft drugs. This policy has been fairly successful till now with the number of drug related deaths in Netherlands being the lowest in Europe. However, this tolerant attitude of the government has given rise to drug tourism in Netherlands.

For the past three years, the Government has been trying to curb drug tourism, especially in the border towns. It has limited the use and sale of soft drugs as they promote crime and are bad for health. Special “weed passes” will be issued to limit the number of visitors to the coffee shops and restrict the free access of the residents to soft drugs. According to Edith Schippers, the Health Minister in the Netherland Government, the sale of cannabis with THC content higher than 15% will not be taken lightly. He felt that not all the cannabis sold in Netherlands contains THC content that high. So it cannot be termed as a shift in the government policy.

The marijuana that is being bred these days contains a high level of THC

The breeders of marijuana have started to breed high potency THC varieties which are very different from what were available in the market few years back. THC is the psycho active ingredient in cannabis and its high concentration can give rise to a severe addiction.

The Netherland Government has adopted a tolerant drug policy till now. The Government believes that by adopting this policy, it would be able to focus its attention on the bigger drug peddlers who supply hard drugs and make money.

The main aim of its drug policy has been to reduce the demand for drugs, to restrict the supply of drugs, to minimize their ill effects on drug users and their immediate surroundings and on the society, and to counter the production and trafficking of drugs. To attain this goal, the Government has permitted coffee shops to sell soft drugs. However, the amount of cannabis that can be sold to a person per day has been restricted to not more than 5 grams. The government has laid down strict rules to decide the condition in which cannabis is sold and used. People below the age of 18 have been denied access to coffee bars and are prohibited from buying drugs. The coffee shops have also been restricted from advertising about drugs.

  • “Dutch may label some cannabis as a hard drug”, Reuters, published on 24 June, 2011, accessed on 19 July, 2011 “Dutch Drug Policy’,, accessed on 19 July, 2011 “National Institute of Drug Abuse Info facts: Marijuana, revised in 11/10, accessed on 19 July 2011
  • Photo courtesy of Drome on Flickr: